Samara O'Shea

Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Un-break My Heart

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Last week I wrote a letter on behalf of someone with a broken heart. When our exchange was finished I offered to suggest some books that I thought might help. (I didn’t want to volunteer the titles without her wanting me to). She took me up on my offer. I list them here now, too, in the event anyone passing by has a broken heart.

I should note that these books are insightful for us all–whole and broken hearts alike. Each book focuses on self-awareness and that will have a positive personal impact regardless of relationship status. The first two books are man friendly and the last one not so much. Although there is plenty of good advice for any person regardless of gender, the title just leans toward the feminine. You know what, who cares?! No one has to know what you’re reading!

1. The Mastery of Love – This book is simple in the way it’s written and profound in its message. It’ll take you two days to read if you plough through. It’s more about self-love than romantic love and it emphasizes that no love is possible without genuine self-love.

2. Calling in the One – This is a workbook. Every day for 49 days (seven weeks) the author has you do an emotional exercise (involving journaling, meditation, etc.) to help you get closer to yourself and understanding your past behavior. I find the promise of the book “7 Weeks to Attract your Soulmate!” to be cheesy, but the book itself is fantastic.

3. The Single Woman’s Sassy Survival Guide – This is a Kindle only book (totally worth buying a Kindle for!) The author, Mandy Hale, has hit the nail on the head with how to mend a broken heart and heal in a proper (non destructive) way–so you’re ready for love when it comes along. She’s full of energy and gives great advice.

You Never Know

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

Way back in early 2008 I wrote a blog called “The Grass is Rarely (Almost Never) Greener”. It was one of my favorite pieces but was passed over by The Huffington Post–meaning they did not feature it on the front page of the Living section as they’ve done with some of my other blogs. It also didn’t gather any comments. I was disappointed but knew it wasn’t worth dwelling on.

Out of the blue last week I received an e-mail from a publisher in the UK asking if they can include a quote from that very blog in a book. How random and wonderful. I suppose they could cast the quote in a negative light, but based on the title/topic of the book I don’t think they’re going to. The lesson is: You never know! If you have an idea you want to share, share it. Put it out there and keep it out there. You never know who or when someone might want to quote you. Here’s the message and the quote:

We intend to republish the following quote by Samara O’Shea. The quote will appear in a book entitled The Man Diet, a topical self help title that focuses on relationships and feminism.

“The peanut gallery tends to assume single people are always looking for a significant other, and many of them are — so it’s a reasonable assumption. This assumption, however, is based on the fact that life is better when you’re in a relationship. The birds sing more often. The sky is bluer, and you don’t have to deal with pesky emotions such as loneliness and dejection. My keen eyes can confirm that this is, in fact, not true. Every depressing sensation you can feel as a single person — misunderstood, isolated, and sad — you can certainly feel while in a relationship. And the elations you feel in a relationship — satisfied, triumphant, and ecstatic — you can feel while being single.”

Instead of a Book

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

I first learned of Diana Athill last year when a friend sent me this article: In Life’s Latest Chapter, Feeling Free Again. Diana had a remarkable career as an editor—helping the British publisher André Deutsch establish his publishing company in the early 1950s. She has edited the works of Margret Atwood, Jean Rhys, John Updike, and Simone de Beauvoir.

When Diana retired at the age of 75, she went on to write three successful memoirs (a nice reminder that it’s never too late). She had dabbled in memoir writing a bit in her younger years, but not to the same success as her later ones. Her first book called Instead of a Letter (1963) is about her fiancé who left her for another woman during World War II and then died in combat, so she was never able to confront him. But it was her post-retirement book Somewhere Towards the End (2008) about aging that was a critical and commercial success—winning the National Book Critics Circle award.

At the age of 91, Diana is not done. The Telegraph reports that she is publishing a collection of “letters written between 1981 and 2007 to the American poet Edward Field, to whom Athill was first introduced through their mutual friendship with the eccentric American author Alfred Chester, whom she published in the Fifties and Sixties.” The collection is cleverly called Instead of a Book.

I have read Diana’s first book (from 1963), and I’m excited to get my hands on this new one. As The Telegraph notes, “Letters, of course, provide a completely different form of self-revelation from memoirs. Gossipy, amusing, confiding, Athill writes about friends and family, her tribulations with decorators and newfangled technology; her unabashed delight in the late flowering of her literary career – ‘What could be more enjoyable than an appreciative audience!'”

The Unrequited Among Us

Monday, October 17th, 2011

On Saturday morning I had a wonderful conversation with a writer named Lisa Phillips . She’s writing a book about unrequited love. After seeing my article in Marie Claire she asked if she could interview me. She’s interested in finding more women to interview about unrequited experiences. If you’d like to share your story with her (you may do so anonymously), please contact her at . You can also take her anonymous survey. (Women only for now. Hopefully there will be a follow-up book for boys =)

Restless in the Midst of Prosperity

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

A compelling excerpt from the book Status Anxiety by Alain de Botton:

“Touring the young United States in the 1830s, the French lawyer and historian, Alexis de Tocqueville, discerned an unexpected ill corroding the souls of the citizens of the new republic. Americans had much, he observed, but their affluence did not prevent them from wanting ever more or from suffering whenever they saw that another had something they themselves didn’t. In a chapter of Democracy in America (1835) entitled ‘Why the Americans Are Often So Restless in the Midst of Their Prosperity’, he provided an enduring analysis of the relationships between dissatisfaction and high expectation, between envy and equality:

‘When all prerogatives of birth and fortune have been abolished, when every profession is open to everyone … an ambitious man may think it is easy to launch himself on a great career and feel that he has been called to no common destiny. But this is a delusion which experience quickly corrects. When inequality is the general rule in society, the greatest inequalities attract no attention. But when everything is more or less level, the slightest variation is noticed … That is the reason for the strange melancholy often haunting inhabitants of democracies in the midst of abundance and of that disgust with life sometimes gripping them even in calm and easy circumstances. In France, we are worried about increasing rate of suicides. In America, suicide is rare, but I am told that madness is commoner than anywhere else.'”

My Carrie Bradshaw Moment

Monday, April 4th, 2011

Every female writer between the ages of 20-40 has likened herself to Carrie Bradshaw at least once. It’s my turn! I noticed this detail when I saw Sex and the City 2 last summer, and I needed to wait until the movie was on my own TV (so I could pause and snap a photo). Carrie Bradshaw wrote a book on love letters! At the end of the movie she puts her latest book, entitled I Do! Do I?, back on the shelf with the other books she wrote. Here they are:


You’ll notice the second to last book is called Love Letters. This makes perfect sense since love letters were a big topic in the first SATC movie. I wonder if the book is a collection of letters or Carrie’s instructions on how to write love letters. Or both? Like mine!

So the books Carrie has written are as follows:

Sex and the City (a collection of her columns)


A Single Life

Love Letters

I Do! Do I?

I also took this photo because, as someone who once styled still-life photo shoots for magazines, I know that many of the details go unnoticed. Someone had to make these book covers, or at least the spines. All for five seconds of airtime. I salute that person!

The Ebb and Flow of Life

Friday, March 4th, 2011

Here’s another gem of a potential wedding reading I found. Now, I’ll stop sharing them before I accidentally give them all away. Bon Weekend!

From Gift From The Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

“When you love someone, you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility. It is even a lie to pretend to. And yet this is exactly what most of us demand. We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity – in freedom, in the sense that the dancers are free, barely touching as they pass, but partners in the same pattern.

The only real security is not in owning or possessing, not in demanding or expecting, not in hoping, even. Security in a relationship lies neither in looking back to what was in nostalgia, nor forward to what it might be in dread or anticipation, but living in the present relationship and accepting it as it is now. Relationships must be like islands, one must accept them for what they are here and now, within their limits – islands, surrounded and interrupted by the sea, and continually visited and abandoned by the tides.”